Generous donors have established a $1 million challenge fund in support of the University of Minnesota’s Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Initiative.
Through the challenge‚ Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison have agreed to match every dollar raised for the initiative‚ up to $1 million‚ by December 31.
The Harrisons became interested in the project when Scott Selleck‚ M.D.‚ Ph.D.—holder of the Martin Lenz Harrison Land-Grant Chair in Pediatrics‚ an endowed chair the Harrisons established in memory of their son Martin—told them he was going to be involved.
“Scott Selleck and his team are clearly tackling a problem that’s unbelievably widespread‚” says Alfred Harrison. “So it was natural for us to support this‚ but my wife and I decided to do it in a way that would also encourage others to engage in this project.”
And that it has. So far‚ other individuals‚ foundations‚ and corporations have committed an additional $350‚000 toward the effort‚ including a $100‚000 gift from the 1923 Fund. Ted Sullivan‚ whose son Jack has autism‚ serves on the organization’s board.
“The Harrisons’ gift is huge‚” says Michael Georgieff‚ M.D.‚ a partner in the ASD Initiative. “It’s an example to the community that these people are willing to invest in a very complex health issue.”
The Harrisons say they wish to help in the quest to understand this puzzling group of disorders.
“This is one of the major diseases in our society‚” says Alfred Harrison‚ “and it’s up to all of us to find the answers.”
To learn more about supporting the Autism
Spectrum Disorders Initiative‚ visit
www.mmf.umn.edu/autism or contact Elizabeth
Patty at 612-625-6136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.